You’ve seen the movies that show show table game high-rollers getting free penthouse suites as a reward for their "run of luck." Although this might be out of reach for many, the truth is, every gambler (yes, even you $2 ante types) is rated by the casino. The longer you play and the higher your average bet, the more "comp points" you earn. The real question is, “How do I redeem my earned comps”?
Few people, even the pit bosses, know the actual formula that determines how much of a wager equals getting a free room or tickets to a show, but if you've been playing for eight hours straight, the odds are you've at the very least earned yourself a free trip to the buffet.
Most casinos have a player card that gets swiped at the table by the floor person when you start to play. If you don't present this card until it's time for you to leave, odds are you will not get a comp. In most casinos, the floor person enters your average bet and length of play into a computer and if you wait until you're done playing, they may not be able to back up your time to give all the credit you've earned.
Sometimes the cards aren't working, or you are playing at a table that isn't attached to the main computer system or at a casino that still does most of these calculations by hand. This is when your relationship with the floor person is essential. If you've been friendly to the dealers and the floor person, tipping from time to time and conversing casually, odds are they'll be more than happy to "bump your total" to earn you the comp you want.
Be sure, though, to pay attention to shift changes. If you've been playing for six hours and the floorperson goes home before you request a comp, the new person who steps into the role may have no idea that you've been there as long as you say—if there is no computer backup, they may not give you full comp value. Not that they think you’re lying, but sadly, people do, so odds are they may not take your word for it.
Sadly, some floor people are simply not customer-friendly. If you are denied a comp you believe you truly deserve and the pit boss is unable to assist you, going to customer service may help. Be sure to arm yourself with names. Saying, "I played there for eight hours and they never took my card" is not going to help as much as "I was there talking with Cathy for eight hours, then she went home and Lionel took over and he wouldn't count my play”.
The bottomline—if you don’t ask, odds are they won’t offer. So find your friendly self and enjoy the rewards you deserve for your play. If you don’t like asking, stick to the casinos that automatically add your play points to your card.